University announces 2018 Notre Dame Award recipients
Observer Staff Report | Thursday, August 30, 2018
The Colectivo Solecito de Veracruz will receive the University’s 2018 Notre Dame Award, the University announced in a press release Thursday.
The group was founded in 2014 by eight mothers in the Mexican state of Veracruz who aimed to recover family members who had going missing as a result of criminal violence.
“We recognize the Colectivo’s steadfast faith and tenacity,” University President Fr. John Jenkins said in the release. “It inspires our students to engage the world as forces for good when confronted with injustice and suffering.”
The group raised money to support their searches and excavations of human remains, without aid from the government or justice system, according to the release. In 2016, it discovered “more than 120 clandestine graves,” with the help of a tip, the release states. It has since recovered 300 bodies, as well as thousands of partial remains.
Jenkins said the award honors the organization’s “tireless efforts on behalf of the families of victims, its heroic witness to human dignity and its service to the noble cause of justice itself.”
“The previous recipients, each in their own way, have been pillars of conscience and integrity,” Jenkins said. “The University of Notre Dame recognizes that the Colectivo’s courageous work has drawn needed attention to victims’ disappearances and has helped to relieve some of the suffering visited upon the families of the victims of such intolerable violence. The Colectivo has made a marked difference for all Mexicans and for humankind at-large in our universal thirst for justice.”
Past recipients include Judge Sergio Moro, the 2018 University Commencement speaker, as well as former U.S. President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter, Mother Theresa, John Hume of Northern Ireland and Vinko Cardinal Puljic, Archbishop of Sarajevo.
The award will be presented during a conference in Mexico on Oct. 16. The award was first initiated in 1992, according to the press release, and was reimplemented in 2017 to recognize “women and men whose life and deeds have shown exemplary dedication to the ideals for which the University stands: faith, inquiry, education, justice, public service, peace and care for the most vulnerable.”